Hotelier Andre Balazs (his Los Angeles properties include Chateau Marmont and The Standard hotels) and MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch co-hosted a private dinner party last Saturday to celebrate the opening of MOCA's Dennis Hopper Double Standard. The exhibit is the first comprehensive survey of Hopper's prolific work in art, film (both as director and actor), photography, and sculpture, with over 200 works shown. Los Angeles notables and a few celebrities came to celebrate Hopper's life and oeuvre and were treated to a live band and the downtown views from The Standard Hotel. The show is curated by Julian Schnabel, who praises Hopper as "a painter without a brush" who "made film into art." Jeffrey Deitch commented on Hopper's influence, saying "his fusion of artistic media has become an inspiration for the new artistic generation who often draw on performance and film as well as painting, sculpture, and photography in the creation of their work."
Coverage and criticism of the exhibit has understandably taken on a eulogistic tone. Adrienne Alpert of ABC7 Los Angeles began her review as if at his memorial: "Hopper did not live to see the first major exhibit of his art to be shown in the United States..." Chan Tu of The Beat (they describe themselves as "young, thirsty female journalists") is even more explicit: "The exhibition has gained a lot of attention in light of Hopper's recent passing."
Despite the celebration of life, art critic Christopher Knight of the LA Times was not impressed. After acknowledging the "sense of melancholy" that permeates the space, he wrote that "failed promise characterizes this mostly listless art, however celebrated the actor-director's movie career" and leaves the show wondering "how, had he kept with it, Hopper might have developed as an artist."
The exhibit runs from July 11-September 26.
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012